This interesting name has two possible origins. The first being locational from East or West Keal in Lincolnshire. The surname was first recorded in the 13th century. In 1579, one Sabastian Keele, of Buckinghamshire, appears in the Oxford University Registers. The spelling Keale appears in 1598. Robert Keale of Essex married an Elizabeth Smythe (Marriage Licence Records of London). Keele may also be a metonymic occupational name for a boatman or builder, deriving from the Medieval English 'Kele' meaning a 'ship' or 'barge' itself coming from the Middle Dutch 'Kiel'. In the modern idiom the name appears as Keal, Keel, Keele and Keale. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Kele which was dated 1273 The Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire during the reign of King Edward 1 The Hammer of the Scots 1272-1307 Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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